A quickie greetings card

Sent my penfriend a greetings card today, a ‘blank inside’ cute one with some cheeky guinea pigs on. I try and vary what I send and he likes that. Normally I type my missives out on the computer, for two reasons. One is to keep a record of what I’ve written so I can refer back and don’t keep repeating myself. This applies also to the pictures and photos I send, which are usually copied and pasted into a letter. I also number my letters so that he can tell if one goes missing in the series…. if I start talking about something that makes no sense and references earlier conversations then at least he isn’t too confused – and because I have an electronic copy of the letter I can always run another copy off to send if there are some that don’t turn up at all.

The other reason is that my handwriting is pretty hard to read. It’s a long time since I had to write extensively by hand and my lazy cursive scrawl takes a bit of deciphering. Incidentally my young penfriend has very good, tidy handwriting (although he often apologises for it – it’s perfectly acceptable, especially given the lack of time that he spent in education as a youth).

So today I tried to write neatly but had to go back through and overwrite a few words that even I would struggle to recognise.

I wanted to make sure I had one letter under way in case a strike breaks out. Also to remind him I am going to be on the same Continent as him next week. More of that later – but as I explained, it will feel very strange to be in my correspondent’s own country and know I couldn’t go and visit him or give him a phone call, even if I made time available and travelled to his State penitentiary. He is still denied ‘Grade A’ privileges. This means no phone calls, no contact visits and various other throttled activities. The inability to have any physical contact is a genuine recurring cause of frustration and sorrow for this guy – his mother comes to visit him most weekends and she hasn’t been able to hug him or touch him in over four years.

This to me is cruel and inhumane. I only have his word for it that his behaviour has been good – but given that he wants to achieve ‘Grade A’ then why would he jeopardise that by acting otherwise? Admittedly I have some way to go yet in really building trust between us, but to be honest, he has nothing to gain from lying to me or manipulating me. He values my friendship and I will continue to correspond in good faith.

Anyway, I will be able to buy some US postage stamps to send over to him while I am there.

I also wanted to give him a heads-up about the postal strike. Still crossing all my appendages!

* * *

Today I went onto Reprieve‘s website to sign up for a regular donation. To my surprise I received an email back from Helena O’Neill from the charity to say thank you as that was the first standing order donation they’d received via the website. Recurring donations are very important to Reprieve as they enable them to plan their investigations better knowing that there is a regular resource coming in. I’d urge anyone thinking of making a donation to consider making it a repeating/monthly one as it makes a huge difference. And don’t forget the Gift Aid!

October 20, 2009 - Posted by | Grade A, letters, reprieve, visits

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